NICOSIA, July 11 (Xinhua) — The leaders of the estranged Greek and Turkish Cypriot communities on Thursday inaugurated a system that ensures the interoperability of mobile phones across the eastern Mediterranean island.
In a statement, the United Nations Mission hailed the move as one that further strengthens mutual confidence and brings all Cypriots closer together.
The statement issued by the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) said that President Nicos Anastasiades and Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci made the first call over the unified system at 12.45pm, “confirming that the arrangement is now live and working.”
The move was facilitated by Elizabeth Spehar, special representative of the UN secretary general in Cyprus, who held separate meetings with the two leaders on Wednesday.
“The achievement of this confidence-building measure (CBM) underlines the importance of dialogue, trust and cooperation between the two sides,” said the statement.
It added that the two leaders also discussed the possibility of meeting as soon as possible “to evaluate the situation as regards the current state of play on the Cyprus problem as well as furthering more potential CBMs, which will affect positively the daily lives of all Cypriots.”
After his meeting with Akinci, President Anastasiades tweeted that “in the same way we broke the barrier in communication, let us abolish the line that divides our country in two.”
Akinci said in a statement that a very important service is being offered to people and wished for more solutions in other sectors to the benefit of the two communities.
The link between the two systems is made by prefixing the telephone code of Switzerland (41).
Anastasiades and Akcinci have been talking for more than two years about a solution that will reunify the island, which has been divided since a Turkish military operation in 1974 following a Greek-inspired coup.
Negotiations collapsed exactly two years ago and the UN is currently engaged in a new round of consultations on the terms of reference of further talks.
The Cypriot government spokesman said Anastasiades spoke with the UN secretary general’s personal envoy, Jane Holl Lute, who has just completed talks with officials of the United Kingdom government, one of the three guarantor powers for Cyprus’s security.
Lute will travel to Cyprus in early August after visiting the two other guarantor states, Greece and Turkey, noted the spokesman. Enditem